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FG rejects Moody’s Sovereign Rating of Nigeria

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Presidency frowns at ‘revolution’ marchers, describes the organizers as faceless

…As China trade volume with Nigeria hits $8.94bn***

The Federal Government on Wednesday faulted the downgrading of Nigeria from B1 stable to B2 stable by Moody’s Sovereign Rating.

In a statement issued in Abuja by the Debt Management Office on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria, the government said the premise for the rating was faulty, adding that since Nigeria’s last rating in 2016, the nation had made quantum leaps in several economic frontiers.

“The attention of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Debt Management Office has been drawn to Wednesday’s announcement of the decision by Moody’s to downgrade Nigeria from a B1 stable to a B2 stable rating.

“This is equivalent to Nigeria’s existing B/stable outlook rating from S&P and slightly lower than Nigeria’s B+/negative outlook rating from Fitch. While we respect the right of Moody’s to make this decision, we strongly disagree with the premise and must address some of the conclusions upon which the decision rests.”

The Federal Government said since Nigeria was last rated by Moody’s as B1 stable in December 2016, the country had successfully emerged from a protracted recession and recorded important improvements across a broad range of indices.

It listed the areas to include a return to economic growth of 0.55 per cent in the second quarter, and returning business confidence, as evidenced by a PMI index of 55.0; stable foreign exchange window for importers and exporters, with improving liquidity and convergence of the parallel and official rates; and significantly improved foreign exchange reserves, now totalling $34bn.

Others are increased oil production, combined with stable and now improving oil prices; slowly improving revenue profile, with non-oil revenue (principally taxes) up by 10 per cent; month-on-month improvements in inflation levels since January 2017, with inflation continuing to trend downwards; strong year-on-year improvement on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings from 169th to 145th place, a 24 place move in one year; and the highest capital expenditure deployment since 2013, making investments in critical infrastructure to support further growth.

The government said it had put in place a number of measures to improve revenue collection as the Federal Inland Revenue Service had made good progress in increasing revenue with the introduction of a tax amnesty and plugging of leakages and deployment of technology-driven revenue management strategies.

It added, “We have seen improvements in revenue in 2017. Fiscal revenues are linked directly to both the performance of the economy and the number of taxpayers contributing. As a result of the foundation that has been established in 2017, we expect similar positive trends in 2018.

“Our revenue initiatives are changing the mix of revenue sources available to government from the traditional oil or debt to a combination of oil, debt and domestic revenue.”

In the meantime, the Consul General of China in Lagos, Chao Xiaoliang, has disclosed that China’s bilateral trade volume with Nigeria has reached $8.94 billion.

This came even as he assured the nation of enhanced bilateral relations with his country as it enters a new era. Speaking during a press briefing at the Chinese Embassy in Lagos on the Chinese Communist Party 19th National Congress, Xiaoliang said: “Nigeria and China are common in terms of national conditions, and make the development strategy in parallel with highly complementary and potential for cooperation.

“In 2017, China to Nigeria strategic partnership continues its comprehensive and deep development. Our economy and trade relations are progressing smoothly, and from January to August this year, the bilateral trade volume reached $8.94billion, ranked third among that of China with all African countries.

Both the formal and informal communication is lifting our relations to a new level for the greater benefit of our nations. “We noticed that this March, Nigeria government released the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

In cooperating with China, Nigeria will harvest great benefits for its own economic development and people’s well-being, especially since the 19th National Congress.

I believe there would be better future prospects for our two countries’ win-win development, and that is what we all expect—a New Era,”  Xiaoliang said. He added: “China will push forward the implementation of the “Belt and Road” construction in Africa, and support Africa in implementing the Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“To focus on the next five years, China will endeavour to import $10 trillion worth of goods and services, and foreign investment reaching $750 billion totally, outbound tourism with 700 million travellers.”

Citizen with additional report from Vanguard

Economy

Selloffs In MTN, Others Drag Market N25bn Down

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Selloffs In MTN, Others Drag Market N25bn Down

…RT.BRISCOE, Tantalizer lead the losers’ table 

 The equity market on Wednesday lost N25 billion due to selloffs in MTN Nigeria, Dangote Sugar and Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), among other stocks.

Specifically, the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.670 trillion, shed N25 billion or 0.04 per cent to close at N56.645 trillion.

The All-Share Index also dropped 0.04 per cent, or 43.3 points, to close at 100,032.32, as against 100,075.59 recorded on Tuesday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return slipped to 33.78 per cent.

United Capital led 10 per cent to close at N36.30, Africa Prudential followed by 9.88 per cent to close at N8.90, and Cutix gained 9.86 per cent to close at N6.13 per share.

Oando rose by 5.63 per cent to close at N16.90, and Julius Berger advanced by 4.79 per cent to close at N87.50 per share.

Conversely, RTBRISCOE led the losers’ log with 5.71 per cent to close at 66k, and FTN Cocoa Processors trailed by 4.44 per cent to close at N1.72 per share.

Tantalizer declined by 4.26 per cent to close at 45K, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals shed 3.53 per cent to close at N1.64 and Consolidated Hallmark Plc lost N3.45 to close at N1.40 per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 35.71 per cent.

A total of 1.10 million shares valued at N10.08 billion were exchanged in 8,720 deals, compared to 368.39 million shares valued at N7.42 billion exchanged in 8,151 deals posted previously.

Jaiz Bank led the activity log-in volume with 528.49 million shares worth N1.15 billion, Cutix followed by 194.64 million shares worth N1.19 billion.

Zenith traded 77.75 million shares valued at N3.11 billion to lead the log-in value, Universal Insurance transacted 36.26 million shares worth N12.35 million and FCMB sold 33.88 million shares worth N257.09 million. 

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Economy

Stock Market Maintains Positive Trends, Up 0.11%

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Stock market maintains positive trends, up 0.11%

…Redstarex, Deap Capital lead the losers’ table 

 The Nigerian stock market maintained its positive trends on Tuesday, increasing the overall market index by 0.11 per cent.

Investors gained N62 billion or 0.11 per cent as the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.608 trillion closed at N56.670 trillion.

The All-Share Index also advanced by 0.11 per cent or 109.3 points to close at 100,075.59, compared to 99,966.28 recorded on Monday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.84 per cent.

Sustained by interest in Tier-one banking tickers such as Zenith Bank, FBN Holdings, United Bank For Africa (UBA), and Access Corporation, alongside United Capital, UACN and other advanced equities drove the market’s positive performance.

Meanwhile, market breadth closed positive with 19 gainers and 15 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

On the gainers’ table, United Capital led by 10 per cent to close at N33, Cutix Plc followed by 9.84 per cent to close at N5.58 and Sunu Assurances gained 7.75 per cent to close at N1.39 per share.

Cornerstone Insurance rose by 7.69 per cent to close at N2.10 and UACN went up by 7.42 per cent to close at N15.20 per share.

On the other hand,  Redstarex led the losers’ table by 9.82 per cent to close at N3, and McNichols Plc trailed by 9.01 per cent to close at N1.01 per cent.

Deap Capital Management and Trust Plc lost 5.77 per cent to close at 49k, Eterna Plc declined by 4.44 per cent to close at N17.20 and Universal Insurance shed 2.78 per cent to close at 35k per share.

Analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 0.78 per cent.

A total of 368.39 million shares valued at N7.42 billion were exchanged in 8,151 deals, compared with 362.43 million shares valued at N7.37 billion exchanged in 8,405 deals posted previously.

Zenith Bank led the activity table in volume and value with 57.42 million shares worth N2.25 billion, and Access Corporation followed with 36.75 million shares valued at N707.17 million.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company(GTCO) also sold 29.16 million shares valued at N1.33 billion, Jaiz Bank traded 28.34 million shares worth N60.94 million and UBA transacted 20.31 million shares valued at N466.16 million.

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Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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